As we enter into a new year (and a new decade) and begin to look forward to what is in store for the future; it is also not uncommon to take some time to reflect on the recent past.
One of the most notable changes during this past year had to be Bill Miller’s retirement. Although he will be a tough act to follow, the initial transition has gone well. I am fortunate to be supported daily by a seasoned group of professionals that makes up Martha Lloyd’s Management Team. I have also quickly found that I have numerous resources at my disposal through our Board of Directors, who are a dedicated group of people that bring many valuable skill-sets to our organization.
When you work in any sector of the human services delivery system (i.e. mental health, drug and alcohol services, etc.), not just intellectual and developmental disabilities, you learn how to manage programs and services with limited resources. Historically the most notable resource that has been in demand has been funding. However, more recently, funding has been equaled, if not surpassed, by a shortage of qualified staff. It is important to note that I am taking some liberty in the use of “qualified”. In this particular instance, it has a somewhat unique meaning. Typically, qualified refers to a required minimum educational level in combination with a prior amount of distinct work experience, and yes that still pretty much holds in this case. However, I think that for our purposes qualified has an expanded definition. Someone qualified to work in this field must also possess a unique balance of fortitude and compassion. This is clearly not a job for everyone. To say we have been fortunate to secure many qualified staff would be an understatement. In addition, the fact that many of those staff have been here for a significant number of years is certainly something to be extremely grateful for, still the need remains for many more. When this issue comes up for discussion in various settings a bystander will often not hesitate to say, “that’s an issue for all employers across the country; not just you”. While the clarification may be based in fact, it does not do much to resolve the problem and provides little, if any, satisfaction.
As we move into the year 2020 and the decade the twenty-twenties (the 20’s for short) we will likely continue to need to address both the lack of funding and a shortage of qualified staff. As well as other shortages, that have yet to be identified. However, in the end, the relevance around any discussion that pertains to resources, or the lack thereof, will always be overshadowed by the overarching aim. As long as there are individuals that require our support, we will always figure out a way to ensure their needs are met.
I hope that 2020, and the rest of the 20’s, brings you peace, good health and an abundance of happiness.
Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter and feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments that come to mind.